Turkey’s MHP vows support for Ankara’s ‘legitimate defense against terror’

Turkey’s MHP vows support for Ankara’s ‘legitimate defense against terror’

Turkey’s MHP vows support for Ankara’s ‘legitimate defense against terror’

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Pledging “unconditional support” for the Turkish government’s fight against terrorism, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) head Devlet Bahçeli has vowed to back a cross-border operation into northern Iraq or northern Syria if necessary.

“I’m calling on [Prime Minister Ahmet] Davutoğlu … Whoever threatens Turkey’s national security, whoever grows an enmity against the Turkish nation, and whoever fires a bullet against our people, should be sought, found and immediately punished,” Bahçeli said on Feb. 23, in his first public remarks since a Feb. 17 car bomb attack killed 28 people in the capital Ankara.

“Mr. Davutoğlu, if necessary, cross to the Kandil [mountains in northern Iraq]. If necessary burn that place and level it to the ground. If needed, hit the north of Syria like a thunderbolt,” Bahçeli said, addressing his party’s parliamentary group.

The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), a splinter group from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), has claimed the Feb. 17 attack, saying it was revenge for operations conducted by the Turkish military in the southeast of the country. The Turkish government, however, has insisted that Syria’s Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia were behind the attack, planned as a joint operation with the PKK.

“By not heeding the U.S., which said ‘Stop firing artillery at the YPG’ and which allied with the PYD, and by not heeding Russia’s provocations, Turkey shows its power to both friends and enemies. For our legitimate defense, clean out everywhere the PKK/PYD is present and rid this precious nation of the sickness of terrorism,” MHP head Bahçeli also said.